Well, that flooring scare was all for nothing, apparently! I feared the worst–that our foundation was cracked and leaking and we’d owe thousands in repair costs. Today, we had a skilled flooring expert out to the house to inspect, and he reported there is no moisture on the concrete slab. He was so certain that the slab was dry that he would have no hesitation installing hardwood floor on top of it as is. Whew, sigh of relief!
We can see in Exhibit A that the carpet is filthy and stained. In Exhibit B, however, the padding below the carpet is in “like new” condition, not so much as a blemish. And in Exhibit C, we can see the slab is stained in a similar pattern as Exhibit A. So what does that tell us?
Leave it to someone who is an expert in flooring to explain that in Exhibit C, what looks like staining on the slab is in fact the normal look of the slab; the clean outer edges are where the builders patched things up with some plaster. The moisture detector in that area came back with a normal reading. Add in the fact that the padding in between is so new looking, and we now know that the staining on the carpet couldn’t be the result of moisture on the slab, otherwise the padding would be filthy too. Rather, it must have come from above. Acrylic carpet is apparently known for its difficulty to get clean, so the grimy look must be due to wicking in the fibers after a shoddy cleaning job.
I also had a plumber out to inspect and he too saw nothing that resembled a slab leak. He tested the water pressure and concluded there were no leaks. But his visit did remind me that the sprinkler system is still a little out of whack. So I started my search for the sprinkler shut-off valve again. Several covers in the front yard were buried under grass and I uncovered those to no avail. But I did pry up a few boards on the patio in the backyard and found some sprinkler parts… not the main shut-off valve, but a good start. I’ll dig around more this weekend. Once I find the shut-off valve, I can turn off the water to the sprinklers so I can repair the leaky anti-siphon valve without turning off water to the whole house.